As more sectors of life open up in California, there are concerns that the Labor Day weekend could lead to surges in coronavirus cases similar to outbreaks linked to Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
“We were so elated as May was winding down and things were getting to look better that we could begin to do a bit more, that when Memorial Day came we all went out and did way too much more in terms of getting together, without masks on and getting much too close together,” said Dr. Robert Schooley, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego.
Dr. Schooley says gatherings still present a major transmission risk. “This virus takes advantage of crowds of people who get together, particularly indoors.”
“That set off the outbreaks of coronavirus we saw hit LA county and San Diego county and almost all of southern California during the middle of July, when we saw the hospitals begin to fill up and death rates spike,” he explained.
He fears that history will repeat itself over Labor Day weekend.
“We got schools beginning to try to reopen and we’re trying to get the fall started, and if we relight that fuse we’re going to be back closing down again by the middle of October… we don’t need to stay on this rollercoaster.”
Dr. Schooley says that there are responsible ways for people to celebrate and socialize over the long weekend. Avoid indoor spaces, keep gatherings small and wear your mask. Even outdoors, it is risky to be close to someone who is not part of your household without wearing a mask.